Batavus Criterium restoration

Moving to Tauranga, we now live an easy ten minutes or so on the bike from the office. I wanted a flat pedal bike that’s more upright than the road bike, and that wouldn’t be out of place on the light gravel paths around here.

Luckily I had this – my father’s old Batavus Criterium. It’s a 531 steel road bike with older Shimano kit. Batavus is a Dutch company that usually makes yer upright town bikes, but also did these road bikes – Google tells me they were high quality builds.

@jackelder @saniac This is my next project, hand me down 531 road bike. Looking for a fixed / free wheel set so I can convert it.

It’s got a fairly laid back geometry and seemed a perfect candidate for flat bars and a general re-jig. It’s well worn but in good shape. Hopefully the sweet purple / green / yellow and white paintjob make it stealth and unappealing to anyone wanting to nick a bike at the supermarket.

Here’s the after:

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Dad’s tubular wheel set had to go. They were excellent Weinmanns that rode very smoothly but I’d tried tubulars for city riding before and they’re a real PITA when you get a flat. In came a robust (code for heavy) aluminium wheelset I’d obtained for commuting, keeping the original rear cluster with a spacer, and a set of Panaracer Paselas.

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The drop bars were replaced with a no-name flat bar (it can be hard to find a flat bar in road-bike-compatible diameters I discovered). These are a set of Shimano brake levers specifically designed for caliper brakes, they work really well.

As I’m stuck with downtube shifters, I don’t need the combo shifters/brakes. I didn’t bother putting a computer back on, I really like how bare bones it looks.

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I got a set of 700x25s as I was a bit unsure how much clearance I’d have, but I could have easily gone to 28s. I reckon I could get a set of proper fenders in there too. And check out that badge!

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The original plan for this bike was a fixed gear conversion, and that may still happen, these dropouts look likely to me.

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Steel is real. It’s an extremely smooth ride and is working perfectly for the ride to work. I’m delighted, and stoked to get something so nice back in regular use.

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Richard

Welcome to my blog - here's a bit about the site. You should really check out sportreview.net.nz - it's funnier. But stupider. It's up to you, really. Here I am on Twitter, or email me at richard (at) richardirvine dot com.

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